Erin Schwartz is a writer based in New York.


Meriem Bennani’s Party for the Internet

From Meriem Bennani's

Although Meriem Bennani’s early work overlaps with Internet art’s preoccupations—it appropriates the idiom of reality TV, for example, and her one-off videos match the pace of online production—her work remains relevant even as the Internet’s social role has changed dramatically. To net artists of the DIS era, the threat posed by the commercial Internet was primarily aesthetic; it was banal, stultifying, and homogeneous, which made hijacking its visual language to produce, say, a stock image of a Gallery Girls star chugging beer out of a baguette koozie feel incisive and funny. Bennani’s latest work, “Party on the CAPS,” an exhibition of video and sculpture at Brooklyn’s Clearing Gallery, captures an experience of postcolonial dispossession and rage.

Patty Chang’s Arbitrary Acts of Devotion

Alternating between particular and general experience in “The Wandering Lake,” Patty Chang demonstrates the power of arbitrary acts, executed with devotion, to produce their own truth. This is a guide to mourning; but Chang widens the scope to include political conflict and environmental degradation, and argues that, despite the losses we’ve incurred, we are still collaborators in the making of our worlds.

A Glove, a Car, and a Camera

Willa Nasatir: Hitchhiker, 2017

Willa Nasatir—whose exhibition currently at the Whitney Museum features ten large chromogenic prints and seven smaller black-and-white prints, all produced in 2017—shoots on film and does not digitally retouch her images. Her analog production is made all the more surprising by the complexity of her compositions, which densely layer objects, tangles of wire, mirrors, surface glare, and textured patina in a shallow depth of field. The surreal effects happen entirely in the camera.